Dorset

Kayakers rescued from Race at Portland Bill

Sixteen kayakers have been rescued from strong tides off Portland Bill, Dorset, after getting into difficulties.

The group from the Upper Hamble Canoe Club, Hampshire, made two mayday calls about 1600 GMT, saying they were in trouble near the Race.

A rescue helicopter and two lifeboats were sent from Weymouth. All 16 kayakers were rescued onto the boats.

Two were then airlifted to hospital, one very seasick and the other with suspected hypothermia and shock.

'Dangerous waters'

A spokesman for the Maritime and Coastguard Agency said the group - two leaders and 14 members - had been well-equipped, and had a mobile phone and radio with them.

However, he was unsure if they were aware of the particular conditions in the Race, where tides on both sides of the promontory meet at the tip of Portland Bill and cause very turbulent water.

The group had become separated into two groups, one group of which had been swept into the Race itself.

"If people get stuck in there it can be very dangerous, especially for smaller vessels and kayakers," the spokesman said.

He described the rescue as "fairly complicated" because of the encroaching darkness. Two rescue helicopters used their floodlights to illuminate the rescue.